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location:depoe bay

Spouting Horn After nervously traversing what surely is the darkest, dankest, narrowest circuitous, and longest shag-carpeted hallway leading into a drinking establishment on American soil, I emerged into a small lounge overlooking a roiling Depoe Bay. Welcome to the spectacular and throwback Spouting Horn, my new favorite shelter in the Let it Pour Kingdom. I think even my sophisticated Portland date was impressed by the awesome retro feel this joint exudes without even trying. I didn’t know it at the time, but at precisely the same moment I ordered a whiskey sour on the rocks as rain assailed the lounge’s windows, a Salem circuit court judge tossed out Measure #37 because of its obvious constitutional defects, and saved, temporarily at least, all that is still wonderful in Oregon. I was also saved from organizing the effort to buy all the property surrounding the home of Dave Hunnicutt, quisling leader of the soulless, greedy Oregonians in Action, and author of Measure #37. I wanted to own the space near Hunnicutt’s home in order to develop the sites into a convenience store, methadone clinic, leaf blower product test center, rock band rehearsal space, go cart track…and distillery, because according to Hunnicutt, my right to do anything I want with my private property trumps all other community, spiritual or ecological considerations. Dude, just wait until I make the big bucks—I am coming after you. Donovan had a name for my level of revenge—season of the witch—or to be more accurate, a strip joint right next door to your house. At last news from Salem brought me joy, but I was dismayed that my contacts in the judicial system didn’t immediately alert me to the court’s decision. I have been waiting for many, many months to go on a celebratory bender. I guess I’ll have to wait until Tom DeLay becomes some inmate’s bitch in a Texas prison. I like thinking of Tom DeLay sweating on all fours, but I prefer thinking about the greatness of the Spouting Horn. This bar simply excels at those intangibles that make a great coast lounge: memorable time-warped décor (the mounted knot collection), a convivial and atypical bartender (Tom, a published novelist), semi-sane patrons, the joint’s cool 70s style, line-drawing logo, which can be observed on the cocktail napkins, and some weird X-factor characteristic that can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world. In this joint, the combination X-factor is the lounge’s vertigo-inducing view of Depoe Bay and the realization that 30 years ago, Jack Nicholson and the cast and crew of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest snorted and boozed their way through Depoe Bay’s alcoholic landscape, including the Spouting Horn, which has been serving drinks for well over 60 years. “They were kicked out of every bar in town,” said a reliable source who knows someone who served as an extra during the Cuckoo’s Nest movie shoot (debauch). Do you remember that classic shot from the movie where the charter boat McMurfee has commandeered sails under the Depoe Bay bridge out to sea with all lunatic hands and a couple of hookers on board? Just what the hell did those guys do in this still sleepy town on the Central Oregon coast in 1975? I am on this far out story, and you can rest assured I won’t quit until I know exactly what spirit Nicholson drank to excess while hanging out here, in the same year the Vietnam War ended. We lost that war, and Americans that suffered from that debacle, (including this writer and his family) swore the nation wouldn’t possibly repeat that folly again. Funny how those draft-age men that didn’t risk or lose anything back then became the masters of the new war. Believe me, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, when it’s all over, most likely a decade from now, I’ll stand over the new masters’ graves and make sure that their dead. I’ll even empty a shitty corporate beer on them. And the coda? Rumsfeld gets doused with malt liquor.
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